Loud protests have broken the rhythm of the ongoing BJP organisational election with district cadres alleging partisanship.
Several district units of the party reported to have drawn the attention of the Central leadership calling for an immediate intervention. BJP cadres from Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts took up the issue with the national BJP secretary in-charge of Odisha, Santosh Gangwar, during his recent visit to the State.
“BJP leaders who are politically active and have large following in their respective districts have been sidelined while undue importance is being given to people who indulge in anti-party activities,” said a senior leader of Mayurbhanj district, requesting anonymity.
He alleged that those opposed to the incumbent president, Jual Oram, have not been involved in the membership drive. Similarly, sitting and former MLAs, who don’t share a great rapport with the State leadership, have been kept away from the election.
“Attempts are being made to elect a president of their (group led by Oram) choice. This can be possible if they manage to enrol as many new members who owe allegiance to them,” said a former minister representing the coastal districts.
Currently, three names are doing the rounds. While general secretary Nayan Mohanty remains the first choice, another general secretary Murali Sharma too is in the reckoning.
In case the Oram group fails to convince the Central leadership about the leading ability of the two leaders in the forthcoming general election, plans are afoot to prop up the name of former State president Suresh Pujari, sources in the party said.
Faced with an existential dilemma after the BJD snapped ties with it on the eve of the 2009 election, infighting has taken a heavy toll on the BJP. The party has been rapidly losing its vote share in successive elections.
There is a growing demand in the party to choose a person of calibre for the post of president who can lead the party and the Central leadership has been apprised of it, said a party insider.
After completing elections at the panchayat level, the party is all set to form block level committees on October 16-17.